April 21, 2011 – So last time, we spoke about incorporating a Pilates exercise regime anywhere and anytime. How did it go?
The long Easter weekend is just around the corner and the after-effects of overeating are looming. Potbellies and muffin tops are bound to develop on the leanest of bodies. So don’t think it can’t happen to you too! Don’t forget to incorporate Pilates into your weekend festivities!
Yoga vs. Pilates
Often compared to Yoga, Pilates is an exercise method rather a physical fitness regime and lifestyle, which is true for Yoga.
Both Yoga and Pilates feature exercises that focus on the muscles of the abdomen, back, arms and legs; which has proven to be highly effective for muscle toning and increasing joint flexibility.
Yoga, a physical fitness regime that originated in Northern India some 5,000 years ago, focuses on the union of body with mind and spirit. Pilates in comparison to Yoga, is relatively new and was just invented by a German athlete, Joseph Pilates, 80 years ago.
For those that are only interested in the toning and exercise benefits without the spiritual side and extra props such as blocks, straps and blankets; then Pilates would be the obvious choice.
Last time in “Pilates anywhere and anytime”, we featured basic exercises for abdominal strengthening, leg toning and glute lifting exercises.
Just in time for the eating festivities of the Easter weekend, here is another basic Pilates exercise that will increase your core strength and battle the potbelly!
1) Lie on your back with your knees bent and the shins parallel to the floor.
2) Exhale: Bring your chin down and curl your upper spine up off the floor. Keep the shoulders engaged in the back. Look down into your abs.
3) Stay here and inhale.
4) Exhale: at the same time, activate your abs, and extend your legs and arms toward the wall in front of you. Your legs should only be as low as you can go without shaking, and without your lower spine pulling up off the mat.
5) Five short breaths in and five short breaths out (like sniffing in and out) go along with a controlled up and down pumping of the arms. Keep in mind that this is a small pumping action.
6) Finish: keep your spine curved as you bring the knees into your chest. Grasp your knees, and then allow your upper spine and head to roll back to the floor. Take a deep breath in and out.